The government has recently revised proposals for pensions in the public sector and it is urging unions to adopt these new measures. The new proposals states that anyone who is 10 years or less away from retirement will not have to work any longer and their pension will not decrease. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said that this is a very fair deal for workers.
Union leaders have disagreed and want more discussions to take place over the package, union leaders have said it is a long way from being ready and are preparing to take strike action over the proposals. Unions are expected to ballot their members in late November over whether industrial action should be taken. Union chiefs and ministers have been negotiating about proposals for pensions but they have been deadlocked for some time.
A meeting on Wednesday that went on for an hour and a half involved Danny Alexander, the Treasury Minister and resulted in the new set of proposals. He expects that if these proposals were accepted they would be sufficient to last for the next 25 years, he is also hoping that they will prevent people from striking.
From 2015 the government wants to remove all public staff from their current pension scheme and put them on a less generous one which also has a later retirement date. Those who are 10 years away from retirement will be exempt from the new proposition. Those who will be affected will have their pension grow faster and will be more generous but it is more expensive to fund.
Mr Alexander is Chief Secretary to the Treasury and he has been leading negotiations for the government. He described the proposal that has recently been put forward as the best offer available. He commented, “This new deal, if accepted, would put into place an agreement that would last for at least another 25 years. It is my hope that the trade unions will see what this represents and accept it.”
The government is arguing that the retirement age needs to be put back because people are living longer; also they are burdened with increased pension costs which have already increased by a third. Unions have criticised this saying that people are going to be paying more and having to work longer.
David Cameron recently had to field questions about pension’s changes at Prime Minister’s questions. He said, “This is a fair offer for public servants and the deal we are offering is still significantly better than anything you will find in the private sector.”
With the threat of strikes and the government to refusing to make any other deals it seems that negotiations are far from over, however the government’s is doing a lot to talk to workers in the private and public sector about pension plans. A representative from PCS union has commented, “We are still waiting for an offer that is good enough for us to not proceed with a strike, this latest proposal is a slight improvement but it’s not nearly good enough for us to accept.” Rachel Reeves is the shadow Treasury Minister and she has welcomed the move saying that it offers a much better deal for workers but also states that in order to avoid strike action much more negotiation is going to need to be done.